Entries by Lance Russell

A busy store on a busy corner

Our intent this week was to talk about Atlanta and her visitors. Any city that attains any sort of momentum attracts interesting visitors…some famous, some not so much. But with every visitor comes a story and this week we were going to tell a visitor story. A pretty good one too. Kind of a Day the Earth Stood Still thriller, only, not the whole earth, just a little corner in Georgia. Anyway, that was all before we discovered Miss Fluffy Raffles.

Fluffy is not a name one just skips past without pausing to at least express, “What the heck?” And to no one’s surprise, there is a bit of a story attached with Miss Raffles. On the surface, it’s a story of a playful woman who for almost two weeks tweaked the collective noses of an entire city and became front-page news in the process.

The Stories continue

With the posting of this story…scratch that…with the release of this shameless, self-congratulatory, video attempt at associating the Stories of Atlanta brand with long-cherished American ideals such as freedom of speech and the right to assembly…we’d like to acknowledge the start of the 3rd season of the Stories of Atlanta. Last week marked the end […]

His request has been honored

Even Atlanta, with it comparatively young history, is not without its colorful characters. And one of Atlanta’s more interesting individuals was Jasper Newton Smith. Smith was an Atlanta businessman during the city’s reconstruction days. He owned a business at what is today the intersection of Peachtree and 14th Streets.

Jasper Smith, or Jack as he was known, was a brick maker and you can imagine that, at a time when Atlanta was rebuilding from the devastation of the Civil War, a guy who made bricks was in high demand. High enough demand to make Jack Smith wealthy. By some accounts, Smith’s company produced somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 million bricks.

A lasting legacy

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Peachtree Street was not always the bastion of business that it is today. At the turn of the 20th century, Peachtree Street was a tree-lined avenue with magnificent mansions on either side. It was a neighborhood…a neighborhood filled with well-to-do residents but a neighborhood none the […]

For the want of a floodlight

There are few better examples of the value of long-term planning than Atlanta’s airport. Atlanta did not blindly stumble into its status as an aviation powerhouse; it got there purposefully, thanks to the forward thinking of several Atlanta citizens. And it began with airmail. A byproduct of World War 1 was the significant advancements made […]

In hindsight, it seems obvious

Part of the fun in looking back through time is examining the origins of the things that today we take for granted. Even though it is obvious that there clearly had to be a first for just about everything, that doesn’t make it any less interesting to find out just exactly how a particular “first” went down. So, once again, we pause to consider just exactly who was the first and what had to happen to make it that way in this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Not everyone shared his enthusiasm

James Litchfield Beavers is not a name that most Atlantans today are familiar with but, back in his day, James Beavers was “The Man”…literally. For 26 years, James Beavers was a member of Atlanta’s police force and from 1911 to 1915 he was Atlanta’s “Top Cop,” the Chief of Police.

In his almost three decades of police work, James Beavers changed, adapted and grew with the City of Atlanta. He was on duty during Atlanta’s Race Riot of 1906, he was charged with enforcing a city-wide ban on alcohol which took effect in our city 12 years prior to the passage of the 18th amendment. In his capacity as Chief, Beavers oversaw the investigation of the Leo Frank case which garnered nation-wide publicity.